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Becoming Ultra

The Becoming Ultra is all about that first Ultra. We follow other runners training for their first Ultra, interview race directors of Ultra's, talk training tips, and just about anything for that next, very long, step.
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Now displaying: Category: My First Ultra
Jan 18, 2022

Liza Howard is a longtime ultrarunner and running coach. Since her first ultra in 2008, she has won numerous 100-mile  races including the Leadville 100 twice and multiple USATF Championships in the 50 mile and 100k distances. She completed the Marathon des Sables, a multi-day stage race in the Sahara Desert, twice, and ran for the United States at the 100k World Championships in Croatia in 2018. She’s currently training for the Badwater 135, which will be held in Death Valley this July. 

In addition to running, Liza coaches for Sharman Ultra Coaching, teaches for NOLS Wilderness Medicine, and directs Band of Runners, a non-profit that supports veterans and their surviving family members by introducing them to trail running and the trail running community. 

Liza lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband and two school-aged children. Sometimes she cleans the house too.

Manny is a former Infantry Marine Reservist who deployed to Iraq in 2007 and Afghanistan in 2010 with 1st Marines, 23rd Battalion Alpha Company.  While inactive from duty from 2006 to 2013, Manny worked as Personal Trainer who Specialized in Obstacle Course Training. Races like the Tough Mudder and Spartan are what first introduced him to trail running.  Fast forward to 2019 - Manny is suffering from reoccurring running injuries and is told by his VA doctors that he should seriously consider not running. Fate said otherwise when he met Rob, who then got him in the Band of Runners Trail Running Camp, where he learned the skills to prevent injury and improve his running and met a community of trail runners who are all eager to see him succeed. And through the help and mentoring of the BOR community, Manny ran his first successful 50k at Hoka One Bandera, a virtual 50k hosted by BOR, his first 50 miler and 100k, and his first 100-mile race at the Badger. Now, through the Samaritan Center, Manny serves the community as a Mental Health Peer Coordinator where he coordinates and facilitates - mentoring, PTSD, substance abuse, life skills, and wellness groups - for Veterans in the Greater Austin community and helps run the Veteran’s Re-Entry Dorm at the Travis State Jail for the Texas Department of Criminal justice. Manny is currently training for the Caballo Blanco Ultra, formerly known as the Copper Canyon Ultra.

We had a lot of fun on this one!  Liza has some great stories to tell, and she tells them with so much humor.  We talk about how she balances training for the Badwater 135 with family life and a nagging hamstring injury.  Liza shares her witty take on her Instagram posts after a long break from social media.  Most importantly, we discuss Liza’s passion project, Band of Runners.  This is an important program that really makes a difference in the lives of Veteran’s.  Manny is a Veteran who participated in the program and then became a mentor.  He has a caring heart and lives a purposeful life of helping others.  He shares his experience with Band of Runners and how it has changed his life.  Manny also talks about his many Ultra’s and battling through injuries.  We know you will enjoy getting to know Liza & Manny and learning more about Band of Runners.  These are two very special people.  Enjoy!

Jan 11, 2022

Kriste Peoples is a Denver-based outdoor enthusiast and guide, runner, writer, and mindfulness meditation teacher. When she's not out adventuring along the trails of Colorado’s Front Range, Kriste is likely writing about it or recovering with carbs in a local eatery.  Her work has been published in Trail Runner Magazine, Outdoor Research, Altra Running’s Run Better blog, Outside Magazine, Elevations Outdoors, and others. As Program Manager for the Women’s Wilderness Trailblazers program, she creates nature-based events that cultivate a greater sense of agency, community, and engagement in nature among women of color.  Kriste offers talks that address increasing the representation of people of color in nature. She has facilitated workshops, participated in panels, and delivered online trainings at conferences such as PGM One, Outdoor Retailer, REI, Summit Sisters, and more. She serves on the board of Running Start nonprofit, an organization dedicated to helping women overcome obstacles to fitness. She is a trail running coach for Life’s Too Short Fitness, has coached for Black Girls Run, and led nature-based outings for organizations that include CitiWild and Outdoor Afro. In addition to her passion for introducing women and people of color to new narratives of wellness, she is the founder of the Black and Brown Women’s Alliance, which provides mindfulness-based in-person and online events that prioritize wellness, self-care, and collective healing.

“Giving yourself grace to meet yourself where you are on that day”  I love this quote from Kriste.  Talking to Kriste is a wonderful, enlightening  experience.  Hearing her talk about her love of the outdoors makes you want to lace up and head right outside.  On this episode Kriste talks about how being mindful and meditation has improved her life.  We discuss how she is empowering other women and what she is most passionate about as well as the importance of self-care. I had a few light bulb moments as I listened.  We also talk about her community involvement and where change still needs to happen.  Kriste is someone we could talk to for hours. Enjoy!

IG- @kristepeoples

 

https://linktr.ee/kristepeoples

Jan 4, 2022

Let's reminisce about the past six months of amazing guests!

Kris and Carly take a walk back into time and recap the amazing guests they have had in 2021.  Fabulous times...lots of laughs and some tears.

A big huge thank you to all of our listeners!  

Dec 28, 2021

Jacky Hunt-Broersma is an amputee, cancer survivor, and ultra-runner who has only been running for the past five years.  Originally from South Africa, Jacky currently lives in North Carolina with her husband and two children.  Being an amputee has not stopped Jacky from accomplishing some big goals such as her first 40-mile trail race, the TransRockies stage race and 100 miles on her treadmill in less than 24 hours. 

Have you ever met someone that inspires you? I mean deep down inspiration!  Meeting Jacky gave us a feeling of inspiration and awe that is hard to match.  Jacky was not a runner before her leg was amputated, she became a runner after.  Most people wouldn’t even think that was a possibility.  Jacky is not like most people.  Her motto is you are stronger than you think you are, and she lives it.  She doesn’t focus on where she was, she focuses on what where she wants to be.  I find myself thinking of this conversation often.  I know you will enjoy Jacky’s story and wisdom as much as we did.

IG- @ncrunnerjacky

Dec 21, 2021

Amanda runs to stay halfway sane, and to spend time with her amazing friend and running partner, Alissa. Which means she runs a lot. Amanda has been running for nearly 30 years and has done all sorts of races with a primary goal to run until she is an old lady. When she is not running, she is leading the Institute for Religion, Politics & Culture at Iliff School of Theology, working her way toward a PhD, writing, and speaking, and parenting 3 teen/ young adults. Amanda ran her first marathon in 2001 and it was so horrible it took her 11 years to run another... and she hasn’t  stopped since. Ten years ago, she was lucky enough to move into the house directly behind Alissa they quickly discovered that they were both runners, and even better, found that they ran a similar pace and had more in common than she ever could have imagined. Amanda & Alissa did their first ultra in the summer of 2019- the Bear Creek 50K, and just survived the Bear Creek 50 mile.

Alissa is a research faculty at the University of Denver and has dedicated her professional life to education.  Personally, she is the mother of 2 and it was motherhood that propelled her into running about 18 years ago.  She ran her first half marathon in 2013 and her first marathon in 2015.  She has run 3 marathons, a 50K and most recently a 50-mile race.  Alissa describes running as her coffee, her happy hour, her social time, her therapy, her time in the outdoors … and oh yeah… and exercise.

“Today well lived makes every yesterday a memory of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.”  We had such a great time discussing friendship and trail running.  This one will make you want to grab your bestie and hit the trails.  Amanda & Alissa tell the story of their friendship and love of running.  We discuss how beneficial having a good friend is during runs and races.  These beautiful ladies have a wonderful bond that has been strengthened by lots of miles.  Their support of each other will leave you inspired.  

Dec 14, 2021

Ryan Steiner is an unlikely ultra runner. Ryan spent most of his life extremely overweight topping off at over 700lbs, currently he has lost over 400lbs of that. Ryan is autistic and has a complicated relationship with food. In the last few years, he has overcome this complicated relationship with the help of his 5-year-old daughter, Kala and their mutual love of running for hours. Ryan and Kala just finished their first ultra 50k together at the Hennepin Hundred, on October 3. Ryan pushed Kala the entire way in a stroller that he calls the chariot. This next year, Ryan promises, will be even more epic for the duo! As a stay-at-home dad Ryan and Kala spend all their time together. These two are best friends with a symbiotic relationship that will fill your heart. 

Have you ever met someone that changes the way you look at something?  We are excited to share Ryan’s story with you.  Ryan talks about being autistic and immersing himself in running.  He shares with us the long journey of weight loss and how moving his body and running have changed his life.  Once you hear his unique perspective on DNF’s I promise you will think differently about them.  Ryan lights up when he talks about his daughter Kala and the special bond they share.  Ryan is an incredibly kind and positive person.  This was a very special podcast for us.  I know you will think so too!

IG- @running_with_kala

 

Dec 7, 2021

Jen didn’t realize where running could take her until she was in her late 20s. She grew up in small town rural Ohio where she dabbled in multiple sports, but credits years of competitive gymnastics with leaving her strong, athletic, and disciplined. A rigorous graduate school program led to a Doctorate in Physical Therapy but left little time for training. At the age of 25, she began training with friends and her husband to run a half marathon, despite not being able to comfortably run more than a mile. Realizing that running doesn’t have to be a form of punishment, Jen raced more road half marathons with a dream of completing a marathon that was never fulfilled due to injuries, a demanding job and the birth of her daughter. Her love of trail running began when she discovered obstacle course racing, tough Mudders and Spartan Races.  A few trail half marathon finishes and the documentary “How to Run 100 Miles”, sparked her interest in trying to run farther than a half marathon. A pandemic, turning 40, a leave of absence from her job and virtual learning for her daughter, her interest suddenly became a reality. Jen decided to “go big or go home” and registered for (and finished!) the OPSF 50K which is hailed as the “toughest trail race in Indiana” for her first ultra in March 2021, followed by Dances with Dirt 50K in May and is now training for the Jackson County 50K in southern Indiana in December. She currently lives in flat central Indiana with her supportive husband and her 7-year-old daughter. She hopes she can be an inspiration to anyone that is hesitant to do big things, no matter what those might be. Ultra running has taught Jen that you’ll never know what you are capable of if you never try. And this is just the beginning of her own ultra journey.  

“Find something big that lives inside you”  Jen did just that, she is getting ready to conquer her third ultra marathon in one year.  This was a great talk about balance and carving out time for yourself.  On this episode Jen also talks about overcoming fears and not giving up.  Jen’s story is so relatable because like so many of us, she is a busy wife, mother and career women trying to strike a balance and achieve her personal goals.  Jen will inspire you to go for it!

Nov 30, 2021

Sally McRae ( aka yellowrunner) is a professional ultra runner who has run some of the worlds greatest trail races such as the Western States 100, Ultra trail (da moan blanc) du Mont Blanc and the Badwater 135, 2021 women’s champion.  Sally is also a wife and mother of two, coach, motivational speaker, and writer.  Sally started running long distances after college and discovered trail running in 2010.  She fell in love with the trail community and opportunities the races brought to explore the world.  Her competitiveness and speed made her a standout in the trail community.  Sally is passionate about inspiring others around her to live their best life.

Have you ever met someone you feel like you could talk to forever?  That is how we felt chatting it up with Salley McRae.  She is a beautiful person inside and out.  On this episode Sally shares parts of her life that shaped her into the grateful, optimistic, happy person she chooses to be.  She also talks about how she manages her busy career and parenting and of course, mom guilt.  Find out where the name Yellowrunner came from and what Sally is up to these days.  This one was special; we hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

https://www.sallymcrae.com/

IG- @yellowrunner

Nov 23, 2021

Joel Stetler is a husband and father of 3 and teaches 3rd grade in California.  Joel is also fighting stage 4 fibromyxoid sarcoma, a rare cancer that is yet to have a cure.  Last year he ran 37 miles for his 37th birthday to raise money for the Brave Like Gabe Foundation, founded by Gabriel Grunewald to inspire people to share stories of being brave through their own struggles while also helping to find better and more effective treatments for rare cancer.  Joel was also a runner-up in the Brooks Runfulness Project, this led to he and is wife, Amanda co-founding the Running Buddies Project, which works to award VIP race day experiences to runners with life threatening illnesses.

This one will move you!  Joel is an amazing person with an outlook on life that is incredible.  He has made a choice to find hope and joy amid an awful diagnosis.  On this episode we talk about his cancer diagnosis, the misdiagnosed hematoma and  more.  We dive into what a support team means and having objectivity during everything.  Joel talks about his 37-mile run as well as other runs and the struggles he has faced.  All of this has led creating the Running Buddies Project.  Joel has a lot of enthusiasm when he talks about.  I find myself thinking often of this conversation.  There are so many valuable lessons in this one. 

IG - hey_mr_stetler

IG - runningbuddiesproject

 

Nov 16, 2021

Hillary’s career as an endurance athlete has not been straightforward. Through injury, setbacks and unexpected challenges, Hillary’s had to re-think what she considers impossible. Early in her career, Hillary earned the nickname “Hillygoat” when she proved her ability to run fast on steep, technical mountain terrain –  a style of running known as Skyrunning.  Since then, she has raced all over the world, racking up wins and course records, establishing herself as one of the best mountain ultra-runners in the world. In 2017 she had a life-threatening accident, where she fell 150 feet off of a ridgeline during a Sky race in Tromsø, Norway. She was told she would never run again. After several years of rehab and recovery, Hillary made a full recovery and returned to elite level racing, racing some of her longest and most challenging events post-accident. She maintains the belief that ‘your best athletic days are ahead of you, if you’re willing to work hard for what you love.

Hillary also studies and teaches science, using her master’s degree in neuroscience and physiology and structural biology. She is also a trail running coach, and a gravel cyclist.

This one gave us all the feels!  Positive; genuine; passionate; expressive are just a few words that describe Hillary Allen.  On this episode we discuss Hillary’s book and how it has impacted her life.  There is so much wisdom in her writing and when she speaks.  Hillary also tells us what life has been like traveling and living in her custom van over the last several months.  And so much more! This was a good one with lots of inspiration, we know you will love it.

https://hillaryallen.com/

IG: hillygoat_climbs

Nov 9, 2021

Steve has been running since he was in high school.  After burning out and taking a 20-year hiatus he picked it back up when his children (now 30 & 26) got involved in middle school cross country which led him to HS cross country coaching for 5 years.  Some injuries moved Steve off the pavement and towards the trails.   Currently Steve is a real estate broker / auctioneer and the VP of the Indiana Trail Runners Association but has always made time to hit the trails and race.  With a few hundred races under his belt Steve has some big accomplishments in his running career; 23 marathons with a Boston qualifier; 15 ultra marathons; 2012 Trail Runner Magazine’s Trophy series winner just to name a few.  Last year during a marathon trail race Steve fell and detached his right Achilles, had surgery in November and has been rehabbing since.    

Have you ever asked yourself what would I do if I could no longer run?  That is what our guest, Steve Baber was faced with.  Hear Steve talk about the highs and lows of not being able to run and rehabbing an injury for over a year.  Steve talks about how embracing the trail running community gave him hope as he worked towards recovery.  Steve also talks about what it is like to age in the sport of ultra-running.  Steve has some good advice to share.  We loved how candid and open he was.  We think this talk will resonate with so many people. 

Nov 2, 2021

Running is what drives me.  I crave it.  I’ve followed some paths in life that have led me away from my passion, but when I finally returned to what always made me happy, I appreciated it so much more.  Sabrina is a professional mountain Ultra-Runner and RRCA Certified Coach.  Growing up in Washington State Sabrina’s parents fostered an unbridled competitive spirit in both her and her five siblings.  Sabrina eventually found a love of running which morphed into a passion for trail running.  After being forced to drop at mile 87 of the 2015 Leadville Trail 100 her competitive nature kicked in.  She vowed to never drop a race again and become one of the best ultra-runners in the world.  In 2016 she returned to Leadville with a vengeance and finished 4th.  Since then, Sabrina has won some of the most difficult 100 milers, in 2018 she won the Hardrock 100, in 2019 she won HURT 100.  In July of 2021 Sabrina won the Hardrock 100 again and shaved over 3 hours off her 2018 time.  Ultrarunner magazine named Sabrina as 8th best American female in 2018 and in 2019 she was ranked 5th.  Currently she has finished first female in the last 11 ultras she competed in.  

Absolutely loved this conversation with Sabrina.  She is one of the most confident, focused, driven runners we have talked to.  There is so much more to Sabrina.  On this episode she tells us about the things and people that helped shape her into the athlete she has become.  We dive into her one and only DNF and how significant that one event became to her running future.  We talk about goals and success and everything that comes along with it.  We are big fans of Sabrina and think you will be too!

https://sabrinastanley.com/

https://www.instagram.com/sabrinaleannstanley

https://www.facebook.com/sabrina.stanley.18 

https://twitter.com/sabrinastanley

Oct 26, 2021

Muriel Bartelme Kreske grew up in Michigan, has a husband named Bryan, is an Executive Creative Director at an advertising agency in Minneapolis, and has more energy than any other person named Muriel in the history of the world. Part of that is fueled by the Grande Blonde roast from Starbucks she drinks every morning. Part of that is because she has to keep up with a rambunctious 9-year-old son, Griffin. And part of that is because she just has that kind of personality. That energy fueled her to losing 100 pounds in 2018, a transformation that included being drawn to moving fast in the form of walking. She’s relatively new to trail running and just finished her first Ultra in May of this year at the Smith Rock 50K, and recently finished the Headlands 50-Miler in August. She also points out she’s a huge University Michigan fan and tends to mix up many common sayings.

Give yourself some grace; something Muriel reminds herself of often.  On this podcast you will meet Muriel Bartelme Kreske and hear her inspiring, uplifting story.  She talks about the team she put in place to help her successfully lose 100 lbs.  How moving her body quickly went from walking fast to running ultra marathons.  Muriel talks about her first ultra-attempt which resulted in a DNF.  How that one DNF was so hard to overcome but ended up being a blessing in disguise.  Muriel is a lively, positive, happy person who is still learning and growing in her journey.  We have no doubt you will love her story and be rooting for her.  

IG- @my365fun

Oct 19, 2021

Before Catra Corbett aka Dirt Diva was an ultrarunner, she was a drug addict.  The drugs led her to dropping out of school , developing an eating disorder, damaging relationships and eventually in jail.  Catra hit her rock bottom and decided she was going to turn her life around.  In 1996, two years after being clean and sober, she started lifting weights and walking.  One day she just started running and never stopped.  Catra has completed more than one-hundred 100-mile races, the Moab 240 multiple times, Bigfoot 200 and Badwater 135 and holds the fastest known time for the 425-mile-long John Muir Trail.  Through Catra’s desire to help people by sharing her story she wrote a detailed bestselling book about her life, struggles and triumphs called Reborn on the Run; My Journey from Addiction to Ultramarathons.  

Authentic!  That is the best word to describe Catra.  We could have talked to Catra for hours, she has a lot of life experience and wisdom to share.  On this episode Catra talks about her many running adventures and most recent experience at the Bigfoot 200.  The ultra-running world is lucky to have such a selfless runner out there.  This is a woman who really cares about the community and lifting people up.  We also discuss Catra’s book and being vulnerable.  Of course, we had to talk about the one and only Truman.  Catra is someone that has a lot to offer and is finding new ways to help people who struggle with addiction.  We are big supporters and can’t wait to see what she does.  I hope you enjoy this talk as much as we did.

https://catracorbett.com/

IG: @dirtdiva333

Oct 12, 2021

Canon’s story may sound very typical at first, married and has two kids, 9 & 7.  Grew up active in a small country town, played all sports as a youngster but focused on soccer in high school and went on to play in college.  Stayed active, until like many people fell victim to the typical office job / marriage / new dad lifestyle and got out of shape.  As a result of stress; poor diet; lack of sleep; too much alcohol, health issues started.  Canon was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation in the digestive tract. Motivated by the desire to be strong for his family and in case a major surgery was needed Canon took control of his health and fitness.  Now at 41 he is in the best shape of his life.  Canon does trail running; CrossFit; ruck hikes; mountain biking and completed the David Goggins 4x4x48 mile challenge.  

 

What a treat to get to know Canon.  Some people are going to have a great attitude no matter what and Canon is one of those people.  We really appreciated him sharing his personal story with us.  We learned more about what it is like living with the autoimmune condition, Ulcerative Colitis.  We also get into some other not so pleasant stuff when it comes to feet issues and when nature calls on the trails.  We found ourselves laughing and sharing maybe a little too much LOL.  It was a fun episode but also one that could really help someone struggling with a similar health issue.  We think you will feel inspired and hopeful after listening to Canon.

Oct 5, 2021

FORMAT

Jason Fitzgerald is the host of the Strength Running Podcast (one of the top 3 running podcasts in the US of all time) and the founder of Strength Running, an award-winning running blog with hundreds of thousands of monthly readers. A 2:39 marathoner and USATF-certified coach, he’s coached thousands of endurance athletes to faster finishing times and fewer injuries with his results-oriented coaching philosophy.

He’s the winner of the 2011 Morraine Hills Half Marathon, 2012 Maryland Warrior Dash, and the 2013 Potomac River Run Marathon. During his collegiate career, he was a member of the 2002 National Championship-qualifying cross-country team and a top ten finisher in the steeplechase at the 2006 New England Championships.

Jason speaks at industry conferences and for major brands like Anheuser-Busch and the Inter-American Development Bank. He also frequently delivers presentations and coaches at fitness retreats and running camps throughout the United States. His work has been featured in the Washington Post, Runner’s World, Health Magazine, Lifehacker, The Huffington Post, and other major media. 

He lives in Denver, Colorado where you can find him trail running in the nearby Flatirons, cheating on running with his road bike, or at the playground with his wife and three children.

 

“Have fun with the process of training”. Wise words from Jason Fitzgerald.  This is one of our most informative and fun podcasts.  Jason shares some key training tips and so much more, you may be surprised by some of them.  Jason also shares his running history and how his coaching career started.  Sometimes one comment can change the trajectory of your life. This is a good one to have in your training toolbelt. We know you will enjoy it as much as we did.

https://strengthrunning.com/

https://www.youtube.com/user/StrengthRunning

IG - @JasonFitz1

Sep 28, 2021

Scott Jones is a husband, father of two boys, 10 & 7, and adventurer.  Scott is the founder and coach of Athlete on Fire.  He has a master’s degree in exercise science and a coaching style as described by a current client that supports you being your best, helps you believe, and holds you accountable in ways that are fun, relaxed, and down to earth.  Scott and his wife Lauren bring runners together twice a year for incredible Trail Camp experiences.  Scott is also the host and producer of The Becoming Ultra Podcast, currently in season 10 and started the ever-growing Becoming Ultra Community.  Scott believes the biggest challenges and most epic adventures are not reserved for a special class of human.  He believes every person is special and can go for it when they truly believe they can.

On today’s podcast we chatted it up with everyone’s friend, Scott Jones.  Scott shares his most special ultra experience, 62 miles to honor his late Father on his 62nd birthday.  Scott also goes way back to how Becoming Ultra started and the turning point in his career.  Talking to Scott is like talking to an old friend and there is always laughter.  We think you will enjoy getting to know him a little better.

www.athleteonfire.com

https://www.facebook.com/becomingultraproject/

https://becomingultra.com/

 

Sep 21, 2021

Whitney grew up in Anchorage Alaska and then moved to Texas in middle school. She was always very athletic but never pursued sports in school. After getting pregnant her senior year of high school and having her daughter, Reese the Summer after she graduated she went on to start college that same month, when Reese was just 3 weeks old. Whitney credits that event for changing her life for the better and lighting a fire under her butt. Suddenly she was motivated and took life by the horns. After graduating with honors she started to jog as a hobby and then on to races.  After struggling with infertility and miscarriages Whitney decided she need a distraction and began to train for a marathon.  A goal that had always scared her.  Ironically, about 4 weeks before her first marathon she was pregnant.  She was set to run the marathon but ended up with a stress fracture in her foot.  After a few more setbacks Whitney was carrying a healthy baby girl, gave birth to Lucy and within a year was pregnant again.  After delivering a healthy baby boy she discovered the running community of Instagram and set her sights on qualifying for the Boston Marathon, which she did qualify for.  In 2019 she and her family moved to Boulder, CO and her love of trail running began.  As one of the season 8.5 participants she began training for her first ultra marathon.  Now back in Texas Whitney is working on getting faster and qualifying for Boston again.

We loved catching up with Whitney from Becoming Ultra Season 8.5 and hearing her account of that epic 50k in a snow and ice storm.  Whitney has a don’t overthink it just do it attitude when it comes to hard things.  On this episode she shares the events that helped shape her and make her the determined, focused person she is today.  Whitney is back at it and reaching for some big goals (no doubt she will crush them).  She has an incredible work ethic, we loved hearing how she manages her family, work and running.  Listening to Whitney will leave you feeling like you can manage anything and go for those goals.

Sep 14, 2021

Lucja Leonard loves running, but hasn't always!  A Dutch-born, Aussie raised, British woman living in the USA with her husband & fellow ultra runner, Dion Leonard, and their 2 fur-kids Gobi & Lara life is anything but straight forward.  Overweight, unfit and unhappy Lucja turned her well-being and overall happiness around when she took up running in 2004 to try and lose some weight off her 216 pound, and growing, body.  Never much for sports growing up she was surprised to discover that she enjoyed the thrill of running and after running her first marathon in 2010 she started to wonder what more her body was capable of. In 2013 she ran her first ultra marathon as part of the Kalahari Extreme Marathon, a 250km race over 6 stages/7days through the Kalahari desert in South Africa where you have to carry all your kit and food to survive the entire week!  From here she was unstoppable having run a multitude of ultras around the world, the tougher and higher the DNF rate the more excited she gets about giving it a go.  Lucja's experience now includes epic races such as Leadville 100, Ultra Trail Mont Blanc 106 miles, Oman by UTMB, Marathon Des Sables and Transgrancanaria 125km to name just a few.  This year she takes on her biggest challenge to date by attempting to run the Triple Crown of 200 milers, Bigfoot 200, Tahoe 200 & Moab 240 over only a 9 week period in total! Ultra running has not just shaped Lucja's mind and body but it has changed both her and Dion's lives.  Dion was running a 250k/155mile multi stage race across the Gobi desert in China in 2016 when a stray dog started following him.  She would run nearly 80 miles with him and Dion and Lucja turned their lives upside down in the process of adopting her from China to the UK where they were living at the time.  You can read more about their true & inspiring story in the NY Times bestselling book 'Finding Gobi' which is also being made into a Hollywood film.

Lucja lives her life fearless!  The bigger the challenge the better.  She went from overweight and unhappy to fit and having incredible adventures.  On this podcast Lucja talks about her very first epic ultra and subsequent struggles.  She also opens up about insecurities and how she has overcome them through positive self-talk.  Lucja tells us about her biggest challenge to date, the Triple Crown of 200 milers and raising money for the Pink Ribbon Foundation that supports breast cancer patients, which is a charity close to her heart.  We know you will walk away from this one as inspired as we were.  “Believe in yourself as others believe in you”.

You can find out more about Lucja and follow her journey @runningdutchie on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Breast Cancer Fundraiser 

'Finding Gobi' available at www.findinggobi.com or your favorite spots to buy books, and this amazing book is being made into a Hollywood film.

Sep 7, 2021

Amanda Follmar was one of the lucky runners to be featured during Season 8.5 of the Becoming Ultra Project, the group who ended their season with the November 2020 epic snowstorm 50K in Scott’s backyard. She has since completed one more 50K at the Smith Rock Ascent, in May 2021. Amanda was born and raised in a small rural community in Oklahoma. She started running her freshman year of high school in 1998 and has continued to lace up her running shoes through all stages of her life. Currently, you will find her in the role of the Chief Everything Officer for the Follmar family party of 8 (this includes two lovable labradors). Amanda and her husband Keith have four super cool kids, who range in age from 13 - twins who are 6. She is also an overtired elementary school volunteer. Amanda and her family live in the South Bay Area town of Saratoga, California.

 

We had a great time catching up with our friend Amanda Follmar.  Amanda is a rock star on the trails and off.  Mother of 4, wife and volunteer but that doesn’t stop her from running and training for 50k’s.  Amanda has mastered balance and getting things done.  In this episode Amanda talks about her experience with Becoming Ultra season 8.5 and that backyard snowy Ultra as well as her recent awesome finish at the Smith Rock Ascent.  She also gives some great tips on managing time for yourself when you are being pulled in many other directions.  We love Amanda’s can-do attitude and mental strength; she is always very humble and kind.  We are excited to see what Amanda takes on next.

Aug 31, 2021

Kate Coward is a 41-year-old wife, mother, athlete, coach, and business owner.  Kate is known for her mental positivity and ability to preserver through the most extreme conditions.  She retired from her career as a CFO and is the founder of Full Potential Coaching, a tailored coaching business for endurance level athletes.  Kate’s athletic accomplishments include the Arrowhead 135 at 8 weeks pregnant; as well as the Arrowhead 135 skiing and bike ultra races; Antarctica Marathon; 7 Continents Club, ran a marathon on each of the 7 continents; Day across MN, 240-mile gravel bike race; and probably the most extreme the Iditarod Trail Invitational 350 Bike race where she took 1st place female.

Kate has some awesome adventures to share.  They all seem to take place in extreme weather and sometimes with moose encounters.  She is a multi-sport athlete who loves adventure and seeing how far she can push herself.  In this podcast Kate shares some mental tricks she uses to push through the pain and get it done.  Kate also shares what it was like leaving the corporate world and starting her own business.  We were inspired by Kate’s physical and mental strength. 

IG: kate_coward_athlete

https://www.fullpotentialperformancecoaching.com/

Aug 24, 2021

Zac’s passion for endurance sports and helping people started with his own fitness transformation.  After struggling with obesity, he went on a quest to feel better and get healthier.  What began as a means to lose weight had quickly morphed into an aspiration he pursued vigorously for the last decade.  After barely being able to complete one mile, he now competes in ultra-marathons all over the world.  During this transformation Zac fell in love with the potential of the human body so much that he left his corporate career to pursue a Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy.  Now, as an educator and advocate for healthy living, he is a top trainer with iFit’s interactive home fitness, mentors at a statewide addiction recovery program, coaches online and gives training advice via his social media. 

 

Zac has a heart of gold and it really comes through in our talk with him.  We discuss his true first ultra experience, the good, bad and the ugly.  Zac also discusses his struggle with food addiction and how he has learned to cope.  Zac shares a very special ultra memory that includes his father.  We were truly moved during this podcast.  In September Zac will be running the UTHC 125k race in honor of his late brother.  We will be following along and cheering him on.  He will be joining us again to discuss the journey.  Zac works closely with Addicts II Athletes and has a passion for helping people who struggle with addiction.  If you would like to reach out to Zac his information is below.

IG: zac_marion

Strava: zac_marion

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/zac.marion.5

 

Zac Marion: Topo's Elite Running Ambassador | Topo Athletic

Aug 17, 2021

Lucy Bartholomew is an ultrarunner from Australia. She started ultrarunning at only 15 years old and isn’t afraid to pave her own path. Now 25, she's one of the top racers in the world with wins and top performances at some of the sport's most important events. In 2018 Lucy placed 1st for women and created a new course record at Ultra Trail Australia, placed 3rd for women at Western States, and completed many many other races throughout the year. Recently, Lucy set an FKT on the Larapinta Trail -  a 138 mile trail in central Australia. Her race accomplishments are incredible, but Lucy is trailblazing off the race scene too!  She hosts training camps and has a plant-based cookbook called “Sustain Your Ability”!  Lucy has the following quote on her website and I love it: “At the end of this time in my life I don't believe I will remember the wins and the loses but more the people I have met, the messages I have received that say "you have inspired me", "you're a great role model". For me, if sharing my journey and staying true to myself gets one person out of bed in the morning and challenges themselves then every step has been worth it.”

We didn’t think it was possible to like Lucy Bartholomew more! After spending some time chatting with her, we realized how very special she is.  On this episode Lucy shares with us what life is like on lockdown in Australia and how she is spending her time.  We discuss her first ultra marathon at 15 years old, setting the FKT on the Larapinta Trail (comical hallucinations), her cookbook, Sustain Your Ability, Trail Camp, positive body image and so much more.  We could have talked for hours!  We walked away from this one feeling happy and inspired in many ways.  Hopefully, you will too!  Here is a wise quote from Lucy. “Comparison is the thief of all joy”.

To learn more about Lucy, visit the following:

Website: lucybartholomew.com

IG: @lucy_bartholomew

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lucybartholomew17

Aug 10, 2021

Marge is a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania native raised in the Penn Hills.  She went from a shy, chubby young woman to being the champion of four major 100-mile races and broke course records across the country, including the Leadville Trail 100, Mohican Trail, Kettle Moraine and Umstead Trail 100.  As well as many other races and athletic accomplishments over the last forty-one years.  Marge is also a fourteen-time finisher of the Leadville 100, four-time big buckle achiever, holds the record for most finishes by a woman and was women’s champion in 1985.  This year Marge will be the oldest female to complete the Leadville 100.  Marge is also the co-author of Leadville Trail 100: History of the Leadville Trail 100 Mile Running Race.

What a treat this was for us, Marge is full of spunk, positivity, and fun.  She is truly living her best life!  On this episode Marge takes us back to her first ultra marathon, how things have changed in ultra running and much more.  We discuss what training is like as she prepares for the Leadville Trail 100 in August (she will be the oldest woman at 71 to complete it) as well as all her current running adventures.   Marge also discusses her book and why it was so important for her to write it.  We are in awe of Marge and her energy.  This interview left us feeling so happy and incredibly inspired.  I see a running adventure with Marge in our future. 

To purchase a copy of Marge’s book, Leadville Trail 100: History of the Leadville Trail 100 mile Running Race go to Amazon.com.

 

Aug 3, 2021

Here is the thing about ultra running. There are so many people out there doing things you never hear about.  Karen is one of those people.  She literally just finished the Desert Rats Kokopelli 150-mile race from Grand Junction, CO to Moab, Utah.  This was her third time doing it.  Karen has been running for over 30 years.  What started as short runs eventually turned into triathlons, then ironman and eventually to Ultras.  Ultra running is where Karen found her passion. She has conquered many ultras including the Leadville 100.  Karen currently resides in the mountains of NM with her husband, 3 dogs and 9 chickens.

Karen is one of those positive people you gravitate towards, she never stopped smiling through our entire conversation.  On this episode Karen talks about the struggles of her very first ultra and her need to keep pushing herself.  Karen also gets us up to speed on her latest adventures, which are pretty cool.  Karen is a true inspiration and we think you will love this conversation.  Check out Karen’s race report from her first 100 miler and a picture from her latest adventure, the Desert Rats Kokopelli 150-mile race.

A journal entry from Karen:

31 hours 25 seconds. Hello Friends! I promised to send a race report. It was an adventure! Andy and I arrived in Ohio Friday afternoon. We checked in at our hotel and drove to the start/finish line to pick up race info and drop off bags which included extra shoes, socks, etc... We went back to our room, with two of our dogs, (Frost and Newton) made dinner and climbed into bed early.  3:45am Saturday my alarm goes off. I eat, get dressed, grab my backpack and head to the start line. 5am race starts. I turn on my headlamp, kiss Andy and start into the woods. About 45 minutes into the race, the sun comes up and it's going to be a beautiful HOT day. Mile 8 is here. There is a beautiful waterfall and a hand over hand climb to arrive at a steep hill and back on trails. I see Andy at mile 12. I feel great. I have met a nice young experienced ultra runner. He gives me some great tips on this race. We continue running. A few water crossings and a lot more hill climbing and I am already at mile 31. I get to see Andy again. I realize I am WAY AHEAD of schedule, but still feel great. Keep on trucking... Next time I see Andy will be at mile 51. I get there in 12 hours 13 minutes. I know this is too fast. Rookie mistake. It is now pushing 90 degrees. I have already ate 4 peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches, 3 granola bars, 2 clif bars, shot blox, pretzels and drank lots of Heed. Approx. 9:30pm. Mile 65 is here. The sun is setting and Andy joins me for the last 35 miles. I was starting to feel a little nauseated, but I got a boost from having Andy with me. My feet are starting to hurt as we shuffle through the dark woods.  We arrive at mile 73. We see a few local runners from Indy. I stopped to check out my foot issues. I take off my shoes and my feet are totally covered in blisters. OUCH!!! I change socks, apply Vaseline, and stick lambswool between my toes. I am grateful to be feeling better than the guy sitting next to me. He has started shaking and hallucinating. This is common in an event like this. I later hear he had to DNF. (Did not Finish). We continue. When we arrive at mile 80, it is 4:09am. I am moving VERY SLOW. I probably won't make it to the next checkpoint in time. My feet feel like I am running on sandpaper. I have puked, cried, and felt awful for dragging Andy into this crazy event. I sit for a few minutes, drink some soup and decide to continue. Mile 85 is here. Only 15 more miles. OH NO.... 15 more??? Mile 88.5. I am shot! We barely made the cut off. I seriously think I can't go any further. The aid station volunteer encourages me to go to the next aid station. It is only 2.7 miles downhill. OK. I start moving. Andy changes his shoes. She told him not to let me quit. I think he is motivated to get me to the finish. Two more checkpoints. I call my parents for encouragement. I can't remember exactly what they said. It was encouraging! We make it to mile 91 and press forward. Mile 96.29 is the last checkpoint. We are late. They told us they would give us a free ride or we could unofficially continue. The race is actually 101.9 miles. We have about 5.7 miles to the finish line. Andy won't let me think twice. "We are going". It is a long 5.7 miles. He is pushing me uphills and dragging me downhills. I keep moving forward in a state of pure exhaustion. I just keep moving. 5 miles, 4,3,2...1 mile to go. It's getting super hot again. We climb out of the woods. I still can't see the finish. Andy grabs my hand. I follow him around the road. People are starting to realize we are finishing. They can't believe anybody would still be out there. I hear some cheers. There are no officials at the finish line. It is an hour past the the 30 hour limit. We walk hand and hand (maybe he is dragging me) to the finish. We hugged, I cried, people clapped. I went the distance. I learned a lot and I'll be back! Only 38% of people who started this race, finished. Official or not, We made it! Thanks Andy!!!

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